A Nation of Fliers: German Aviation and the Popular by Peter Fritzsche

By Peter Fritzsche

Monstrous, fragile airships soaring in an unlimited sky, warfare aces passionate about dying and destruction, bold younger males launching their handbuilt gliders, schoolchildren donning gasoline mask in the course of air-raid drills - the brilliant idealism of flight and its darker provider in overall struggle come to lifestyles during this publication approximately Germany's perilous romance with aviation. From the Kaiser's moment Reich to Hitler's 3rd Reich, laptop desires mingled with imperial goals and mastery over the flora and fauna held the promise of mastery over the political global. this is often well known background of the trendy period. From the crowds within the shadow of Graf Zeppelin's highly renowned airships, to the myths surrounding the chivalrous fighter pilots of worldwide warfare I, and eventually to the worldwide succeed in of airplanes within the Nineteen Twenties, Fritzsche goals to teach flight to be a wealthy image for energy and modernism. yet German aviation used to be extra that an exuberant tale of technical accomplishment; it grew to become a depressing story approximately nationalism and conquest. Even sooner than the Nazis, fliers embodied a brand new breed of guys and girls who stood able to restoration German energy. The publication concludes with an exploration of the bothered intersection of recent know-how and nationwide Socialism. via drawing from various inner most records, together with these of Lufthansa, the Zeppelin corporation, the German Aero membership, and the papers of "the father of gliding", Oskar Ursinus, in addition to through examining well known poems, songs, and patriotic appeals, Fritzshe parades via his tale such heroes of aviation as Graf Zeppelin, Manfred von Richthofen, Oswald Boelcke, and Marga von Etzdorf. In doing so he lines the fascination with aviation of Weimar writers from Bertolt Brecht to Ernst Junger, dramatizes the grand twentieth-century spectacle of plenty and machines, and seeks to supply a notable photo of the German mind's eye in a deadly age of technological success and nationalist ardour.

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Extra resources for A Nation of Fliers: German Aviation and the Popular Imagination

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3D "Zeppelin tiber Plauen ... bringt alles aus clem Gleise," went one poem: 31 the soup is getting cold, the dumplings are hard the roast is bu rnt to a crisp! ] Curious Berliners greet the LZ 6 in August 1909. the housewife runs, the cook jumps, the milk spills into the fire, that great disrupter, Graf Zeppelin, it's all quite unbelievable! Perhaps a cheerful and frivolous mood prevailed at zeppelin mishaps because the unexpected landing allowed people a happy opportunity to inspect their airship in unrestricted intimacy, without police cordons or civic fanfare.

The material, over which he triumphed, knew how to honor him: there is no other way to describe it. Of course, Hofmannsthal beheld the dramatic suitability of Echterdingen in hindsight, after the airship had been destroyed and the public subscription launched. But he drew attention to the ways in which accidents were comprehended and invested with meaning. Echterdingen was not only seen as part of a strenuous struggle that would eventually be won; the disaster itself identified the (difficult) road to progress.

At Christmastime of 1908, one Berlin baker manufactured an edible airship out of gingerbread, wafers, and chocolate, confidently linking his own culinary arts with Zeppelin's technical achievements. An amusement park featured an "airship carousel" with rides in the familiar cigar shape. " It was to this sort of zeppelin kitsch that one appalled art critic pointed to indict Wilhelmine 17 18 A NAT ION 0 F F LIE R 5 Germany for its bad taste, but Germans-street hawkers, trinket buyers, and carnivalgoers-claimed the airship as their own.

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